28 July, 2008

Our First Trip to Paris

This past weekend Paula and I made a trip to Paris, France for the first time. With the train ride just over 2 hours from Luxembourg, it could not have been easier to get there. We left at around 10 am on Friday and got into the Paris Gare East train station a little after noon. At first we didn't realize that our seats on the train had numbers so we were sitting in someone elses seats for the first few stops until they got on so we have to move to the end of the car but no big deal.

Our hotel was just one metro stop from Gare East so we were above ground and searching for our hotel within 15 - 20 minutes of arriving in Paris. It took me another 10 minutes or so to locate the tiny street our hotel was on but we eventually got there and just in time as we were hungry for lunch so after leaving our bags at the hotel, we went on the prowl for lunch! We packed our handy and helpful Rick Steves guide to Paris so we used a suggestion and headed off to the Rue Cler area which was a bussling shopping district with tons of cafès, wine shops, cheese shops and all kinds of other little shops right next to each other. We figured we had to start our holiday in Paris out the Parisian way by having lunch outside at a cafè so we found a cool little place that had some open seats. By this time 99% of the outside seats at all cafès on Rue Cler were taken by eaters, drinkers, people watchers and smokers. We found a nice table on the edge of the outside seating and the inside part of the restaurant so we had the best of fresh air, a front row for people watching but also a bit of shade. We had a nice little lunch accompanied but what else but some French wine.

After lunch we took the short 5 minute walk from Rue Cler to the Eiffel Tower which is amazing to see in person. You see it first from so far away but then to actually get right under it, it takes about 10 minutes or so to walk to. We talked through the Parc de Champ de Mars which is a huge park that leads the way to the Eiffel Tower and makes for some great photo opportunities which we did not pass up on. We did not actually go up into the Tower, we will save that for another Paris trip, but we did walk around and when we got right up to the Tower, the police were holding everyone back as if someone special was coming. We figured it was maybe Barack Obama as he was in Paris that day and we heard others saying the same thing but we didn't actually see anyone and after 15 minutes or so they little people back to the lines to climb the Tower and back to their normal lives. Before that happened there was a small explosion under the Tower but it looked like maybe it was something the police set off to scare away pigeons, at least that is what we want to believe.

After a walk around the Eiffel Tower, we decided to walk along the River Seine and then headed for the famed Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the shopping, window shopping that is. After a walk of maybe 30 minutes or so we arrived in the middle of the Champs-Elysees and started up towards the Arc de Triomphe which is another of the great historical sites to visit in Paris. It is also home to one of the craziest roads it the world it seems. We passed by tons of high end shops on our way to the Arc but nothing really peaked our interest too much. The think that was most exciting was seeing an old blue or green Mini Cooper wizz by us on the Champs-Elysees. Over the course of our weekend in Paris we counted 12 different old Mini's, Paulas favorite car.

After tooling around the Champs-Elysees for a bit, we retraced our steps off this grand avenue and found a little café with some outside seating so we could enjoy a bit more of wine. We found 2 more seats in prime people watching position on got to our business of watching.
Check out our various different sets of pictures from Paris


uncle den said...

Hi greg & paula -- greg, your mom gave me your address and was touring your blog with much interest. It's like a tour of europe without having to pay out the $'s Keep up the tour it really is interesting
talk to you later--uncle den

Greg G. said...

Hey Uncle Den, it is nice to see that you have made your way to our blog. I am uploading Paris pictures now and trying to write down some words on our trip there.

Next weekend we are going to Sweden and Denmark so there will be many more pictures to come!

Take care,

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